Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/362

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348
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

posed to produce a rotation in the swarms, which would give rise to the observed planetary motions.

Another objection raised by Mr. Monck is, that it seems difficult to understand how the requisite number of collisions in a meteoric swarm could be produced and kept up, and "that meteor clouds dense enough to produce the requisite amount of light by their collisions would also be dense enough to intercept a great part of it again on its way to the earth." Mr. Monck's papers on the subject were published in the Journal of the Liverpool Astronomical Society.

Here the matter rests at present. It will be seen that hitherto the weight of evidence seems against the truth of Lockyer's hypothesis, but further researches on the subject will be looked forward to with considerable interest. — Gentleman's Magazine.


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OUR AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS.

By Prof. CHARLES LATHROP PARSONS.

WHEN, in 1851, a small local society of German farmers at Möckern, Saxony, realizing that scientific investigation could help solve the many obscure problems of their life, contributed from their own resources and asked their Government for aid to establish an experiment station to study such problems, a new epoch was begun in the history of agriculture. The idea that scientific research could be of use in studying and solving the questions related to the farm was by no means a new one. The educated proprietors of Europe were even then beginning to reap the proceeds of chemistry applied to agriculture. The work of Chaptal, Davy, Sprengel, and De Saussure, in the earlier part of the century, had been continued, supplemented, broadened, and enlarged by the great chemist Liebig, whose Chemistry in its Application to Agriculture and Physiology had opened the eyes of many well-known scientists, and given to intelligent farmers a new and brilliant field of labor.

In 1831 Mr. John Bennet Lawes, since knighted in reward for his labors, began experiments upon fertilization on a small scale. He gradually increased them until 1843, when he associated with himself the now celebrated chemist, Dr. J. H. Gilbert, and from that time he dates the establishment of the Rothamstead Experiment Station. Almost coexistent with the first work of Lawes in England, Boussingault began the study of plant physiology and nutrition on his farm and in his private laboratory in Alsatia. Many schools and universities already had zealous workers in